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Tucked away on the shore of Bay Lake is one of the most highly themed resorts at Walt Disney World, the Wilderness Lodge. Over the years it has undergone some changes, adding not one but two Disney Vacation Club “resorts within a resort,” as well as new amenities, but it stays true to that immersive Pacific Northwest theme that the Imagineers and architects designed from the beginning. Based on the famous National Park Lodges of the 20th Century, Wilderness Lodge will transport you to a completely different place that feels nothing like being just a boat ride away from the world’s most popular theme park. Here are 8 Pros and Cons to consider to decide if the Wilderness Lodge is the right resort for your next Walt Disney World Vacation:
8. Con: Room Size
As a deluxe resort, the room size at Wilderness Lodge leaves a little to be desired (for the standard room categories). Rooms come with a little outdoor space like a patio or balcony, which is nice, but the rooms themselves are more like a Moderate+ in size compared to all of the other Deluxe Resorts (except Animal Kingdom Lodge which is the same). The standard rooms here only accommodate up to four people, and they can feel a little snug.
7. Pro: The Pools and Splash Pad
Wilderness Lodge has always had a great pool with a fun backstory. Silver Creek Springs pool begins in the lobby where you find the bubbling geo-thermal feature that flows outside and down the waterfall, eventually filling the Silver Creek Springs Pool. It blends perfectly into the natural landscaping of the resort. This pool also has a fun slide. Adjacent to this main pool is the newer Splash Pad that was added about 5 years ago during a renovation. It has some fun smaller slides for kids, a dumping bucket and a few other water features to make playing fun. With the renovation of the Disney Vacation Club areas of the resort the “quiet” pool got an upgrade as the Boulder Ridge Cove Pool. New theming makes it a fun place to swim, along with some covered seating areas.
6. Con: More Limited Quick Service
If you are used to staying at a Moderate or Value resort with a large multi-station food court, you may be disappointed with the quick service options at Wilderness Lodge. The Roaring Forks is a bit smaller, with a more limited menu. But—the food you get there is very good . . . so don’t let the small size or the lack of choices fool you.
5. Pro: Room Variety
When staying at Wilderness Lodge, you really have a choice of 3 resorts, Wilderness Lodge, Boulder Ridge Villas and Copper Creek Villas. Each one is accessed separately when making your resort reservation, so you need to know which one to choose. Wilderness Lodge offers standard rooms, Deluxe Rooms, Club Level rooms, and some Suites. Boulder Ridge Villas is the original Disney Vacation Club portion of the resort and offers Studios along with multi-bedroom villas that feature full kitchens. Copper Creek Villas are the newer converted Disney Vacation Club villas that also feature studios and multi-bedroom villas, as well as the amazing Copper Creek Cabins by Bay Lake. These are free standing multi-room cabins that I think would make a great vacation destination without ever visiting a park. The variety of accommodations that you can find within the Wilderness Lodge are a real pro for staying here.
4. Con: Darker Rooms
As part of the theming as a lodge, the rooms at Wilderness Lodge can be a little dark. They are decorated with darker woods and colors, and they can feel a little closed in. Some people may really enjoy this as a way to relax and get out of the bright sun on an afternoon break. Others may find it harder to see than they would like. It is all about personal taste and preference, and what is important to you on vacation, but it is something to consider for Wilderness Lodge.
3. Pro: Restaurants
The Wilderness Lodge has an amazing line up of restaurants. While the more limited menu of the quick service Roaring Forks may be somewhat of a disadvantage, the quality of the food and creativity of the menu items definitely makes up for it. Out on the water you’ll find Geyser Point Lounge that offers not only amazing views of Bay Lake in a relaxing atmosphere, but some great food and drinks. Inside the resort the Territory Lounge is another great place for drinks and light bites. Whispering Canyon Café is a very fun casual restaurant with a great menu of comfort foods, and servers who offer up plenty of antics while you eat. Artist Point recently changed over to a character meal featuring Snow White, the Evil Queen, and Dopey and Doc. True to its signature dining roots, the prix fixe menu at Storybook Dining is getting great reviews . . . and it is a chance to meet some characters who are more rare to find in the parks.
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2. Pro: Location
Wilderness Lodge is a Magic Kingdom area resort, so although you feel a world away thanks to the elaborate theming, you are really just a boat ride away from the magic. The resort’s location on Bay Lake allows boat transportation (my preferred method) over to the Magic Kingdom, along with the Contemporary Resort if you have dining there, and Fort Wilderness if you wanted to visit for recreation or dining.
1. Pro: The Lobby
I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone to walk into the Wilderness Lodge Lobby for the first time (or the 10th
) and not have their jaw hit the floor. The open, multi-story lobby is absolutely gorgeous. And it is here that the theme of the resort really takes root. You’ll find the huge fireplace that replicates the layers of the Grand Canyon rock. Hardwood floors with Native American patterning. Massive Totem Poles. And genuine lodge pole construction complete with carved animals hidden on the poles. Look up to take in the grandeur and you will see the oversized chandeliers that imitate Teepees surrounded by Buffalo. The Arts & Crafts Style furniture blends in perfectly. Take a few minutes to look around, the lobby (and each floor of the resort) is filled with Native American artifacts, geological specimens, and objects that relate to the movement west. The designers really outdid themselves with the Wilderness Lodge Lobby.
What are your pros and cons for staying at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge?
- Top 8 Pros & Cons for Staying at the Wilderness Lodge at Walt Disney World
Disney’s Contemporary Resort at the Walt Disney World Resort in central Florida opened on October 1, 1971—the same day Magic Kingdom first opened to the public. It was one of only two resort hotels operating at the time (the other was Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort). The hotel is a AAA 4-Diamond Award-winning resort with an A-frame building that has outer walls that slope inward. Guests can stay in one of more than 650 rooms at the Contemporary, and the activities and amenities are fabulous. Trying to plan your trip but not sure where to stay when you visit the parks? Let us help you decide with the things to know about staying at this beautiful Deluxe resort.
9. Location, location, location
If you’re looking for a Disney Resort hotel that’s as close to the action as possible, you won’t find a better one. That’s because Disney’s Contemporary Resort is a stone’s throw from Magic Kingdom. You can hop aboard the monorail that runs through the center atrium—one blink and you’re there. Or you can choose to walk from the Contemporary right into Magic Kingdom’s main gate. It’s that close!
8. Pools and fun in the water
Disney’s Contemporary Resort two pools located along the shore of Bay Lake. There’s a 17-foot-high winding waterslide, as well as two whirlpool spas. For the kids, there’s also a fun water playground, perfect for splashing and getting wet on those warm days in central Florida. Bay Pool is a quieter setting for all ages. The pool itself juts out over Bay Lake. There are also several private cabanas available for rent to Guests at the Contemporary.
7. Chef Mickey’s
Chef Mickey’s Fun Time Buffet is one of Disney World’s most popular character dining experiences, and the only place you’ll find it is at the Contemporary Resort. Chef Mickey’s serves breakfast, brunch and dinner on an all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet that includes just about every type of American fare possible. The food is great, but what makes this experience truly magical is that Mickey and the gang visit with Guests at their tables during their meals. Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto pose with Guests for pictures, sign autographs and even stop every once-in-a-while and lead Guests in a fun song and dance. If you’re hoping to have this experience when you visit, be sure to book your dining reservation up to 180 days in advance via the My Disney Experience
app or by calling (407) WDW-DINE.
6. So many places from which to see the fireworks
Anyone at Magic Kingdom can see the nightly fireworks display from several different locations and vantage points around the park, but perhaps the best place to be during the fireworks is at the Contemporary. That’s because its close proximity to Magic Kingdom means you won’t ever miss the fun and magic of the fireworks over the park. Sit on the balcony of your resort hotel room and watch while taking it easy with friends and family. Or you can choose to watch from the fourth-floor observation deck. And for a really special experience, book a table at California Grill on the 15th
floor of the Contemporary during the fireworks display. Enjoy dinner and a show!
5. California Grill
Speaking of California Grill—it’s probably one of the very best things about the Contemporary. The classy atmosphere and elegant décor of the restaurant combined with the flavors of California make for quite the experience indeed. The menu includes sushi, American favorites and seafood, as well as brick oven-fired pizzas, salmon, scallops, filet of beef and chicken. Dessert is especially magical at California Grill. Choose from options like peppermint crème brulee, carrot cheesecake, apple crostata and warm Valrhona chocolate cake. The panoramic views of Seven Seas Lagoon and Cinderella Castle only add to the magic!
4. Pixar Play Zone
The Contemporary Resort’s Pixar Play Zone is a nightly experience for kids ages 4 through 12. Mom and Dad can bring the kids to enjoy dinner and desert, and then head out to the parks for parents’ night out! There are lots of fun activities like Woody’s Round-Up, Space Ranger Training and the Piston Cup Challenge. There’s also an Incredibles Dance Party that’s, well, pretty incredible! Pixar Play Zone is a favorite hangout for Woody, Buzz and Mr. and Mrs. Incredible and chances are that your little ones will get to meet them as part of the fun! The event takes place in the evening from 6:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. The cost is $65 per child and reservations must be booked and paid for in advance. Reserve a spot for your little ones by calling (407) 824-KIDS
3. Wave of American Flavors
The Contemporary Resort is also home to Wave of American Flavors—a table-service restaurant that serves American fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner. At breakfast, Guests can choose from a buffet-style meal or purchase entrees a la carte from the menu. The lunch and dinner menus include items like crab cakes, burgers, sandwiches, pasta, beef tenderloin, cioppino, seared gnocchi, noodle bowls and beef short ribs. For dessert, choose from sorbet, crème brulee and the Chocolate Flight—a trio of tiny chocolate desserts. Reserve your experience by calling (407) WDW-DINE.
2. The construction of the resort
The way in which Disney’s Contemporary Resort came together is pretty intriguing. For help in designing the resort hotel, Disney collaborated with U. S. Steel and Los Angeles-based architect Welton Becket. Once the design was conceived, construction began on the hotel’s main trapezoidal tower. The 500 rooms that would be housed inside the tower were actually built at another site several miles away. This was a massive undertaking in pre-fabricated steel. The rooms were built—most of them 9 feet high, 15 feet wide and 30 feet long—and then furnished with everything from the furniture down to the television set. Then the pre-built, pre-furnished “rooms” were brought to the site of the Contemporary and hoisted up by crane. The cranes slid the rooms into spaces in the tower, much like drawers slide into a dresser, and the rooms were hung on cables from the tower’s top bracing. To this day, each room inside the A-frame structure of the Contemporary is actually suspended above the central atrium of the hotel. Don’t worry—they’re perfectly safe!
1. Richard Nixon
Did you know that a very famous event in history took place in one of the ballrooms at the Contemporary? It’s true. On November 17, 1973—17 months into the Watergate scandal—then-President Richard Nixon found himself at the Contemporary. The Disney Resort hotel was hosting the 1973 Annual Convention of the Associated Press Managing Editors Association. It was from a podium in the ballroom at the Contemporary that Nixon gave a live one-hour televised press conference and uttered the infamous words, “I’m not a crook.” It would be only 8 ½ months before he resigned from the Office of the President, facing almost certain impeachment.
- 9 Things To Know About The Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World
Art of Animation is one of the most popular resorts on Disney property. If you ever see pictures or have the pleasure of visiting the hotel yourself, you’ll understand why. The whole place is colorful and full of Disney characters. It’s also one of the newest places to stay, meaning that by staying here you’ll get some of the nicest and newest beds, decor, and more. We highly recommend Art of Animation, especially to those with kids. That said, there are some things you’ll want to know before going in. These cons are likely not game-changers, but being aware of them sure can make planning your trip easier. In order to help you fully understand what you’ll be getting when you book this resort, we have listed the pros and cons of Art of Animation below.
Let’s start with the good. Here are the top four things we love about Art of Animation:
Pro #1: Amazing Theming
The theming here is the heaviest of all the resorts. There are large sculptures of Disney characters and scenes outside of the buildings, and the rooms are incredibly immersive. Special touches—such as a shower that looks like Ariel’s grotto and a map of Radiator Springs on the tabletop—are not lost on Disney fans, and such magical theming can really add to your vacation.
Pro #2: Spacious Suites
The majority of the rooms at Art of Animation are family suites. These sleep up to six guests 3 and over, with room for one toddler or baby. They include a kitchen and plenty of room to spread out, meaning your family will be super comfortable for the entirety of your vacation. Besides being wonderfully spacious, these suites are also awesome in another way. You see, the suites come in three different amazing themes: Lion King
, Finding Nemo
, and Cars
. You get to choose whichever one you prefer, and kids absolutely love this.
Pro #3: Awesome Pools
There are a total of three well-themed pools at this resort. The main pool is the coolest though. This swimming area is Finding Nemo
-themed and features a kids splash area. Additionally, the pool in this cool-down spot is the biggest on Disney property, with music and sound effects piped in underwater for little swimmers to enjoy. We adore this pool, and we know you will too, so be sure to bring a swimsuit and goggles.
Pro #4: Great Food Court
In addition to an amazing pool, this resort also has Landscape of Flavors, the best food court out of all the Value Resorts. This food court is focused on offering healthy options and they do a wonderful job of it, making sure their menu is varied, delicious, and relatively good for you. The grilled fish and jumbo stuffed meatball are both guest favorites, and with sides such as brussel sprouts and green beans, you can continue to eat your veggies even while on vacation.
Now for the less-great things about this resort. While the cons are few and far between, we did manage to find some we think you should know about:
Con #1: Pricey for a Value Resort
Technically, Art of Animation is a Value Resort. However, because the majority of the resort is made up of family suites, and because the standard rooms are both limited and in high demand, the prices for this particular Value Resort are pretty high. In fact, some Moderate Resorts are cheaper. Still, Art of Animation is amazing, and well worth paying a premium for if you can swing it.
Con #2: No Discounts
In addition to being pricey, Art of Animation has never yet been included in any of Disney’s discount deals. This is a real bummer for those who like to use the free dining deal or a room rate discount. However, as we mentioned before, we think this particular resort is still worth it, especially if you can visit during slow season when all prices are a bit lower.
Con #3: Longer Walks
Art of Animation is a huge resort, and it’s very spread out. Therefore, it’s possible that you will be placed very far away from things such as the food court and bus stops. This is especially true if you happen to be staying in one of the standard Little Mermaid
rooms, which are as far as you can get from such amenities. All that said, compared to the walking you’ll be doing in the parks, the walk from a Little Mermaid
room to the food court isn’t so bad. Besides, more walking means you can eat more dessert, right?
Con #4: Lots of Kids
All that bright, colorful Disney theming is super appealing to kids, while the spacious suites are appealing to their parents. For those reasons, you’ll find a lot
of kids at this resort. For some this isn’t a con at all, and in our opinion, you should of course expect to see kids at a Disney resort. If this is a con for you, you might be better off looking at one of the Deluxe Resorts where there are fewer kids and a more relaxing atmosphere.
- Top Pros & Cons for Staying at Art of Animation Resort at Walt Disney World
It is no surprise that Walt Disney World is a family vacation destination that offers amazing experiences for guests of all ages. While it is easy to imagine experiences geared perfectly towards young children like Dumbo the Flying Elephant or The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and experiences geared specifically towards adults such as dinner at Victoria & Albert’s or drinks at Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, there are also plenty of amazing experiences waiting to be enjoyed by teenagers. From special locations filled with attractions, dining, and more to shopping opportunities or the chance to just chill out, there are plenty of amazing ways to teenagers to enjoy themselves while spending time on a Disney vacation. The best part is that these experiences can be enjoyed by teens alone or together with the whole family- either way teenagers are sure to have a fantastic time! Here are eight hot spots for teens to enjoy on every Walt Disney World vacation!
1. World Showcase
Epcot’s World Showcase is popular with many guests, but teenagers in particular love it thanks to the countless experiences offered there. Featuring eleven different pavilions each showcasing a country from around the world, World Showcase allows teenagers to feel as though they have explored far off locations without ever leaving Epcot. The area is also home to many amazing dining experiences, live entertainment, shopping, and attractions such as Frozen Ever After. With so much to do and see, teenagers will definitely love spending lots of time exploring World Showcase!
2. Sunset Boulevard
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is also home to a hot spot for teenagers, particularly those who are looking to enjoy some big thrills. Sunset Boulevard brings the Hollywood of the 1930s and 1940s to life and is also home to two popular attractions that pack some big thrills. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror brings guests into the abandoned Hollywood Tower Hotel where they soon find themselves strapped into an elevator heading straight for The Twilight Zone. Also found on Sunset Boulevard is the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith which brings guests into G Force Records and then onto super stretch limos where they rocket through downtown Los Angeles to make it to a concert on time.
3. Pandora – The World of Avatar
Another popular location for teenagers to enjoy can be found in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Pandora – The World of Avatar brings the Valley of Mo’ara to life with amazing floating mountains and two attractions that teens will love. The Na’vi River Journey brings guests into a bioluminescent forest where they find themselves encountering the Shaman of Songs and many amazing creatures. Teens in particular will also love Avatar Flight of Passage which uses technology to link guests to Avatars and transport them to Pandora where they can partake in the thrilling experience of riding on the back of a banshee.
4. Disney Springs
One of the most popular locations in all of Walt Disney World for guests of all ages is Disney Springs. The entertainment district is home to several themed areas which are filled with entertainment, dining, shopping, and more. Teens will love exploring all that Disney Springs has to offer including some popular stores such as the World of Disney and eateries that serve up unique snacks and meals such as Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant and Ghiradelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop.
5. Mission: SPACE
Epcot is also home to another popular attraction that is often frequented by teens who are looking to enjoy some big thrills. Mission: SPACE is located in Future World East and invites guests into the International Space Training Center where they can opt to join either the tamer green team or the more intense orange team. The green team has guests embark on a training mission around the Earth offerings spectacular views of some of the most beautiful locations in the world. The orange team trains for a mission to Mars filled with thrilling moments like hypersleep and an asteroid field. Teens are sure to love the amazing experiences offered on Mission: SPACE on both the green and orange teams!
Another popular area that teens love enjoying can be found in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The Asia section of the park is home to two thrilling attractions that let teens experience some amazing adventures that bring them to far corners of the Earth. Kali River Rapids is a soaking journey that combines big thrills with the important message of conservation. Teens will love boarding family style rafts and trying to guess who will get soaked next! Also found in Asia is Expedition Everest where teens can board trains and set off on an adventure into the Forbidden Mountain where they find themselves face to face with the terrifying Yeti!
7. Toy Story Land
One of the newest areas of Walt Disney World can be found in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and is popular with teens. Toy Story Land brings guests into the beloved world of the films and shrinks them down to the size of toys in Andy’s backyard. Teens can enjoy experiencing Toy Story Mania and competing to see who can score the highest, whizzing around on Alien Swirling Saucers and seeing who can get the dizziest, and blasting off on the thrilling Slinky Dog Dash which is packed with big thrills.
8. Blizzard Beach
Another amazing location in Walt Disney World that teenagers are sure to absolutely love is one of the two Disney Water Parks found on property. Blizzard Beach formed when a freak snow storm hit Central Florida and a ski resort was built only to quickly turn into a water park after all the snow began to melt. Teens will love chilling out on comfortable reclining chairs and also enjoying big thrills on a plethora of water slides and the absolutely thrilling Summit Plummet.
- 8 Hot Spots For Teens At Walt Disney World
We were recently introduced to the magic of Walt Disney World’s Beach Club Resort and her sister, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort – and we wish we’d discovered it sooner! There are so many different criteria when choosing a resort on property, and it’s important to know what you and your family value most in your accommodations before making the decision of where to stay while you’re in WDW. To help you with this ever-important decision, we’ve compiled our top pros and cons of Disney’s Beach Club Resort.
Talk to anyone who’s stayed at Disney’s Beach Club or Yacht Club Resorts, and chances are, they’ll rave about the massive pool complex here. Stormalong Bay is hands-down the best pool complex in Walt Disney World, and you’ll only be able to use it if you’re staying here! With its own lazy river and iconic shipwreck waterslides, it’s practically a waterpark unto itself. Little ones can enjoy the shallow sandy areas, perfect for building sand castles, and adults will appreciate the numerous waterfalls and hot tubs. There’s even a whirlpool area with current stronger than the lazy river, if you’re brave enough to venture in! Trust us when we say you can easily spend an entire day enjoying Stormalong Bay.
You don’t have to worry about getting lost at Disney’s Beach Club Resort! It’s a fairly small resort, and all the rooms are located in one central building. This means that you won’t ever have a daunting hike to your room after you get back from an exhausting day in the parks, and it’ll never take you that long to get from your room to the pool or your on-site meal.
3. Boat Transportation
We love the ease of Walt Disney World’s complimentary bus system, but there’s something special about having alternate transportation options from your resort. At Disney’s Beach Club Resort, you’ll have the option of taking a water taxi to Hollywood Studios, and we highly recommend it! You’ll arrive at the park refreshed and ready to tackle your day.
4. Location, Location, Location
Then again, you don’t really HAVE to take the water taxi to Hollywood Studios from Disney’s Beach Club Resort, or the bus, for that matter. The resort is within walking distance to Hollywood Studios (approximately a 20-minute walk) and to Epcot’s World Showcase (around a 5-10 minute walk), which is one of the reasons we simply adore this resort! It’s all about location, and there’s nothing like skipping the transportation lines when the crowds make a beeline for them after IllumiNations, or strolling from the resort to a lunch or dinner reservation in Hollywood Studios or Epcot!
5. Dining Options
We love the dining options here so much, we eat here even when we’re not staying at the Beach Club or Yacht Club! Whether you’re looking for a quick pool-side drink or a multi-course table service meal, you’ll find food and drink here to suit every budget, schedule and palate. Try the exquisite Yachtsman Steakhouse for some of the best steaks on property, or enjoy a delicious ice cream treat at Beaches and Cream Soda Shop. We love the casual elegance of the Ale and Compass Restaurant, and the Beach Club Marketplace is perfect for grab-and-go options.
Because Disney’s Beach Club Resort is much smaller than the value resorts on property, there are fewer crowds to contend with. You won’t find sports teams or throngs of screaming children here, and the quieter, more upscale ambiance will make you feel relaxed and pampered. You’ll likely want to spend some time enjoying the extra amenities and stunning details you’ll find here, making this resort a perfect choice for guests who have been to WDW before, or don’t plan to spend every waking moment in the parks.
There’s a reason Disney’s Beach Club Resort is a deluxe resort – it’s among the best of the best when it comes to Walt Disney World accommodations, and you definitely pay for the privilege. Expect to pay around four times what you would for a room at a value resort – and that’s just the starting rate! Families who plan to spend all their time in the park may not reap enough benefits to make the cost worthwhile, and budget-conscious travelers will definitely want to look at a moderate or value resort instead. Of course, you can always split your vacation across different resorts to experience the Beach Club without the hefty price tag of spending your whole trip there.
We love the theming of Disney’s Beach Club Resort – it’s a laid-back (but elegant), pastel take on New England style, and it’s beautiful as well as relaxing. But what you won’t find here are giant cartoon characters, bold primary colors, or in-your-face Disney theming, which can be a drawback for some Disney fans and for guests with young children. So if you want to be surrounded by your favorite Disney characters and reminded every second of your vacation that you’re in the most magical place on earth, there are better resort options for you!
3. You Can Never Go Back
Once you have stayed at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, you will be forever ruined for value resorts (and even moderate resorts) on property! When you see the difference in quality of a deluxe resort, it’ll be hard to go back to anything less. And a word to the wise – if you’re planning on spending a few nights at the Beach Club Resort and the rest of your vacation at a value resort, learn from our mistake and do the value resort FIRST.
- Top Pros & Cons for Staying at Beach Club Resort at Walt Disney World